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Telling People About Writing

Telling people about my writing remains one of my hardest things to do. That includes writing here on the blog.

My friend, Carrie, who started the Plucky Not Perfect podcast, and I talked about fear recently. She asked me about the idea of fear being a passenger in a vehicle with me. I said that I imagine fear sits in the backseat, and when it starts to talk to me, I turn up the music to drown it out. I can see it being grossly exaggerated in the backseat, but I don’t listen to it. However, it still steals my attention now and then.

I’ve told many people about writing the manuscript: my parents, my siblings, extended family, friends, and acquaintances. It feels like taking a deep breath before jumping into a pool. However, it doesn't seem to get easier, and I still struggle. And it’s not so much telling people about the manuscript but about answering their questions about my writing journey that makes me sweat nervously. That’s where the fear starts acting out in the backseat; it’s when people ask what the manuscript is about and why I wrote it that forces me to allow people to see me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an engineer by training. There’s a structure to my profession and organization that I hold in tension with my faith and this writing journey. When I try to reconcile the two, I see fear make hideous faces at me in the backseat. It's more comfortable for me to remain unknown as a "writer".

When my writing coach (more to come in a future blog post!) and I were crafting my plan for starting a blog, I told her I would use a pseudonym. She wryly smiled and said, “The important part is getting started.” Once I had a few posts up, we met again, and she said, “The pseudonym is going to have to go, but it’s ok for now; just keep writing.”

Do you ever have those moments when you already know the truth but are so resistant to it that you trick yourself into thinking life can be a different way?

I knew the pseudonym would only get me so far for so long. I yearn to be authentic in this journey, so I knew the armour would have to come off at some point. I haven’t yet gotten comfortable with fear making faces at me from the backseat.

But, recently, while with workmates, I was put on the spot and asked what a secret superpower was. It was one of those time-stood-still moments. I knew intuitively in an instant what I would answer. So, I took that deep breath and plunged into explaining that I had written a manuscript and was working on publishing it.

To my surprise, those I tell about the writing are encouraging and genuinely interested each time. Even though those conversations make me highly uncomfortable, I know they are good. This journey was never meant to be hidden or silent, but shared.

And, like all worthwhile journeys, there’s an element of stepping out of the comfort zone. Sometimes, it happens instantly; sometimes, it’s like shedding layers on a gradually warming day. This journey for me has definitely been the latter.

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